Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Austinites: Volunteer to make local police more accountable

If you live in Austin, here's an opportunity to support open, accountable government, including making records public about misconduct committed by Austin police officers. The Save Our Springs Alliance and ACLU are asking for volunteers to gather signatures aimed at putting an open government charter amendment on the May ballot in Austin. Reads an item on the ACLUTX website:
the petition drive ends in early February, and we need a few more signatures to get on the ballot. YOU CAN HELP! Download the petition and the affidavit for signature gatherers and just ask a few friends or neighbors to sign. You could make all the difference. ...

In November, ACLU's Central Texas Chapter and the ACLU of Texas Police Accountability Project participated in a press conference hosted by the Save Our Springs Alliancelaunch of a petition drive to open records at the City of Austin. Now we have to finish the job.

We need more signatures by the first week in February, so please download the simple forms, sign and circulate! Sign the Collector's Affidavit that is attached when you've finished and return them both to the petition headquarters at Glen Maxey Consulting, 512 E Riverside Dr., Ste 203, Austin TX 78704.

I'd written about the charter amendment proposal earlier here. Only a small number of police officers ever engage in serious misconduct, but keeping that misconduct secret contributes greatly to an aura of distrust between police and much of the community. The proposed amendment doesn't violate officers' rights in any way, but it makes records about allegations of police misconduct public to the same extent they are at police departments in Dallas, El Paso, and down the street at the Travis County Sheriff's Department.

I hope some Grits readers have time to help on this over the next week or so. For more information check the ACLUTX website or go here to download petitions.

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